in Chronic Disease
Jeff Levy, DVM
The acute picture of belladonna is well
known, with its characteristic heat, redness,
dryness, suddenness, violence, and intensity
resembling atropine poisoning. Belladonna
has been considered primarily an 'acute'
remedy by many, appropriate to high fevers,
encephalitis, and other inflammatory physical
remedy relations, oftentimes the 'acute'
is a plant remedy and the 'chronic' a mineral.
Take, for example, pulsatilla and silica,
aconite and sulphur, or belladonna and calcarea
carbonica. Yet the so-called 'acute' remedy,
say pulsatilla, can fit a chronic disease
state, and the so-called 'chronic' remedy
can fit an acute disease state. It would
probably be better to simply consider them
to be complementary to one another.
mineral remedies, when accurately prescribed,
tend to stimulate deeper, longer lasting
curative responses than plant remedies in
general, certainly plant remedies, accurately
prescribed, can stimulate a deeply curative
response in chronic disease.
(that is, hope) that it is now widely recognized
among veterinary homeopaths that rabies
miasm is quite common and often predominant
in dogs. If belladonna was originally an
'acute' remedy in clinical rabies, and we
now have a well-defined canine rabies miasm,
it follows that Belladonna is an important
chronic remedy in dogs. Experience has shown
me clearly that it is.
The Chronic Belladonna Picture
As belladonna is one of the major rabies
remedies, it has many clinical features
that are characteristic of rabies miasm,
and shared with other rabies remedies. (I
again assume that this is familiar to most
of you, and so will touch on the subject
only briefly.) Neurological symptoms predominate.
Seizures of all sorts, whether grand mal,
fly biting, biting at water from a garden
hose, or one of many other possibilities.
The basic underlying pattern that I see
here is a sort of mental 'switch' that,
when triggered, snaps the dog into an altered
mental state. It is a form of delirium that
typically comes and goes instantaneously.
This is perhaps best illustrated by a dog
walking in the woods who sees a deer and
immediately goes after it. (The trigger
is often visual.) The dog will typically
be unresponsive to any verbal command, and
will, in fact, be totally unaware of anything
except catching that deer. This is a milder
chronic form of the mental derangement that
is seen in the encephalomyelitis of rabid
to the chronic belladonna state specifically,
it has the same general features as the
acute, mentioned above, but in a low-grade
chronic form. They tend to have compulsive
behaviors, such as chasing a ball until
they drop or compulsive licking of people
or objects. There is a driven quality to
these behaviors, as if survival depended
on it. A peculiar example of this is a generally
thirsty dog who would absolutely refuse
to drink water until his people came home,
and then would excitedly drain the bowl.
to be excitable, intense, even hyperactive.
There is a hyperacuity of the senses, which
can lead to loss of senses, often deafness
or blindness, usually without obvious physical
pathology. [Vision: Acute. Eye: Photophobia.
Eye: Paralysis, optic nerve, amaurosis.]
[Hearing: Acute. Hearing: Impaired. Hearing:
Lost.] It is as if the sensory organs are
cranked too high and just burn out.
Just as the
sensory organs are sensitive, there is also
often sensitivity to pain. Overreaction
in general. [Generalities: Reactions, violent.]
They tend to be very alert, reacting quickly
and strongly to the least alarm, such as
barking at noises outside the house, or
being spooked by a silhouette in dim twilight
the fact that belladonna has so much heat
in it, it is an empty heat, a false yang.
As such, they can be quite chilly in the
chronic state. However, I have not found
temperature preference to be a strong feature.
Only once have I seen the keynote craving
for lemons in a dog.
physical symptoms that have been repeatedly
cured by belladonna include aural hematoma,
and cervical disc prolapse with either back
pain or hind leg weakness and ataxia or
paralysis. Interestingly, both conditions
appear to be acute, but are actually symptoms
of chronic disease.
I do not advise prescribing based on personality,
it can be useful in confirming the remedy
choice. Belladonna patients tend to be quite
pleasant and agreeable, somewhat like phosphorus.
They are animated, as you might expect,
and often described as being charismatic.
They can even sometimes be a bit 'goofy',
with clown-like behavior. Still, you can
always see the driven quality behind their
All of the
above is a description of how belladonna
cases can look. It is not meant to be comprehensive,
and it is far from an attempt to describe
the essence of belladonna. That would require
careful examination of the nature of the
fear and the response to it. However, I
hope you can get a feel for how the acute
hot, dry, red, sudden, violent qualities
can look when they move into a chronic state.
Nikki, 18 month old spayed female German
was aggressive behavior. She would protect
her food bowl. She had started to growl
at strangers, < with men. With the wife
of the family, more submissive, fearful,
would pull away. She was very intense. She
would compulsively lunge and bark at people
while leashed on a walk. Restless and anxious.
Jealous. Impulsive. Submissive urination,
had previously been < with men. She had
killed a squirrel, and as a puppy had been
destructive, tearing up anything in her
crate. Since puppyhood, could be very sweet
and very submissive.
get diarrhea with lethargy, inappetance
and thirst. She would be frantic before
a bowel movement with this diarrhea. Had
gotten the diarrhea after rabies vaccination,
and after boarding. Did not like changes,
or new people in general. However, she was
perfectly fine with some people. If the
person gave attention to the other dog,
Molly, Nikki would attack Molly. In general,
Nikki dominated Molly. (Molly responded
very well to staphysagria.) With other dogs
outside, acted dominant at a distance, fearful
and submissive up close. Still, would be
dominant with some dogs, e.g., puppies.
symptoms: appetite either ravenous or inappetant.
Appetite worse when more restless, pacing,
cat stool. Would eat paper, used tampons.
Would carry around dirty socks, preferably
scratching around her head, and chewing
her lower legs. No fleas. Would rub her
head, especially the top of her head, on
the carpet, and make a low growl and bark.
Didn't seem angry or aggressive. (Voluptuous
have her feet wiped, would pull away. Very
interested in any woman urinating. Would
stick her nose in the woman's crotch. Also
by water, flushing toilet, would snap at
dripping water or stream of water from garden
hose. Would chase stream of water from garden
been on homeopathic treatment by another
veterinarian for 16 months, and had received
thuja, sulphur, nux-v, sepia, and lachesis,
all in high potency. Towards the end of
this time, the aggressive behavior towards
people had become alarming, and there was
concern that she might ultimately have to
given one dose at a time of belladonna 30C
up through 50M, over the course of one year.
It is worthy of note that despite the deeply
curative nature of the response, the duration
of response at each potency level was relatively
During that time,
her personality completely changed. The
aggressive and bullying behaviors went away,
as did the restless anxiety. Jealousy nearly
gone. In fact, most of the symptoms were
either gone or much better. The veterinarian
who had previously treated her said that
she was "a different dog". Curiously,
the desire to carry around the husband's
socks did not change.
after receiving the dose of 50M, she had
a severe bout of diarrhea at night with
sudden urging, frantic behavior, crying,
and stool shooting out. With this she had
tremendous thirst, and was clingy. These
were exactly the symptoms she had had as
a puppy after rabies vaccination. I took
it to be the return of the original pattern
of symptoms, as the vaccination probably
induced the belladonna state to begin with.
The diarrhea resolved without treatment
in a few days, and within 8 weeks, all of
the belladonna issues were resolved, and
she had moved into a calc-c state. She has
been responding very well to that remedy
for the past five months.